his regular meeting Thursday night, Aug. 24.
“A judge recently ordered Walker County to pay Erlanger $8.7 million plus interest and attorney’s fees to cover its portion of a 2011 loan to keep Hutcheson Medical Center open.
“Whitfield said, ‘This special district will generate at least $2.5 million a year to pay down our debt to Erlanger. I’ve asked their management team to remember it’s the people of Walker County who are ultimately paying the price for the mistakes of the past. As we continue to work with Erlanger on a payment plan, my hope is they will show some compassion to our citizens, who are also their patients.’
“The special district allows for a special assessment to be charged on each parcel of property, beginning Oct. 1, 2017. The annual fee will be 0.14 percent of the fair market value, up to a maximum of $1,000. The special assessment on a home with a market value of $75,000 would be $105. Property valued at $200,000 will be charged a $280 fee.
“The Walker County Public Health Facilities and Services District will terminate in three years.”
Retail sales in Walker County have had and continue to have several voter-approved, self-imposed taxes: LOST (local option sales tax) for general operations, SPLOST (special purpose local sales tax) for a definite list of capital projects and ESPLOST (education special purpose local option sales tax) that funds construction and major renovations of schools.
Whitfield’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year is still being tweaked but is due for adoption and presentation to the state before Oct. 1.